Being a Musician requires natural talent, discipline, and an intense dedication to their profession. But how about if you’re also a full-time Actor?
Many Rockers have extended their talents from the concert stage over to the various screens numerous times in the past 60 years. But one man who has turned up it several notches on the performance meter on both levels is undoubtedly Anthony J. Mifsud -who graciously took the time out of his hectic schedule to speak with “The Count of Rock” about his past, present ….and incredibly bright future!
Mark St. John: Anthony, how did you first get into acting?
Anthony J. Mifsud: My earliest work as an Actor actually started around late 1993 while I had been doing what they call “looping” work (voice-overs on films) for a company called Sound Dogs here in Toronto, picking up background lines in scenes and vocal sounds for fight sequences on action movies for Cannon Films out of Los Angeles. With the emergence of grunge and the subsequent decline of hard rock and heavy metal at that time, my days as the Singer and frontman of the band Slash Puppet were slowly coming to an end, and I found myself genuinely enjoying the new work I was doing, not to mention the money. I decided to find an Agent to delve further into the Film and Television Industry and began doing extra work, music videos, commercials, video games, whatever I could get, and in 1994 I found my way on to the set of a film called “Jungleground” working as a Stunt Actor in my very first fight sequence against none other than the late great Pro-Wrestling Legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Shortly after that, I was on the set of ‘Kung Fu: The Legend Continues’ doing my first speaking scene after being picked out of a group of Extras by another Entertainment Legend, David Carradine. I have not looked back since!
MSJ: You have done film, television, and voice-work. Do you have a preference and can any of these ‘disciplines” be more challenging than the others?
AJM: I genuinely enjoy doing all of it and while the various disciplines are quite similar in ways, each one does require a different set of skills both from a performance and technical aspect with voice work being the easier for me as working in a sound studio is familiar and can be a lot more relaxed, while acting work on film or television tends to be a little more intense and involved. As an actor, I have found one element to be somewhat challenging and often differs on a TV set from that of being on a film set, and that is tempo! Scenes are often shot and performed at a faster pace on television sets than they are on film sets as the latter tends to be a little more dramatic, and it can take a small adjustment form one to the other, although my singing experience helps to make it easy for me to pick up any such tempo changes.
MSJ: Can it be awkward when balancing a career as a full-time Actor along with being a Musician?
AJM: To date, I have not found it difficult at all as my music work these days is peripheral and doesn’t take up too much of my time. I am not actively playing or touring in any band and endeavor mostly to writing and recording new songs for release along with an impressive collection of backlog material that I have compiled with various artists throughout the years. This allows me plenty of time for auditions and any shooting schedules that might come along, not that I wouldn’t like to get back out to rock on stage someday again!
MSJ: Are there any roles you’ve performed or locations that have sentimental value to you?
AJM: One role that comes to mind is that of a “‘Colonel Lynch” that I shot on a film called “Lima” with Oscar-nominated Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9 / Elysium / Chappie) in Cape Town, South Africa that left an indelible mark on me. Partly because of how fortunate I felt to travel to Africa and experience such an exotic location as a professional actor, but more importantly, because the entire experience gave me and my work as an Actor some serious validity. So far as sentimentality goes, I recently met with a Canadian Director about a role in a film that would be shot in Malta where I was born. The meeting was very positive, and I can’t think of anything that could be more sentimental than to travel back to the place of my birth to work on a film. That would be immense!
MSJ: Which Actors or Directors have influenced your career?
AJM: Wow, there are so many that I can name as I have been a Fan of film and television from such a very young age. Film directors would have to include (for a variety of reasons) Neill Blomkamp, Stephen Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Norman Jewison, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, and Clint Eastwood. Actors who have influenced me in different ways would include Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, David Carradine, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins and of course Marlon Brando. Honorable mentions must go out to Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio, Woody Harrelson, Will Smith, Joe Pesci, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson (both as a director and actor), Robert Duvall and Clark Gable. The list can go on!
MSJ: You released a solo album “My Insane Friends” back in 2016 under your nick-name “Mif” which featured “Born Inside the Shell.” Can we expect another album from you soon?
AJM: Yes, you can expect a few more releases under the band moniker of My Insane Friends. As I mentioned earlier, I have an impressive collection of songs that have never been heard before by the general public, both new and vintage that I have recorded with various Artists throughout the years. It is an eclectic collection most of which falls within the confines of the hard rock genre but indeed varies in styles. For this and a variety of other pragmatic reasons, I have decided to continue to use this band name for future releases (other than those associated with Slash Puppet) as this best convey and denotes my current scenario as a Musical Artist. A variety of songs, in a variety of styles that have been written and recorded with a variety of “My Insane Friends”…how more apropos?
MSJ: In the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest in Slash Puppet -the band in which you first made a name for yourself. Whispers seem to be circulating among Toronto’s music scene that a reunion is in the works. Are the rumors true?
AJM: All I can say about that is what I have said before in many other interviews. I am a “never say never” kind of guy, and if the opportunity ever arises where the members of Slash Puppet wanted to try and get back together for a few shows or a tour, I would welcome it! The truth of the matter is that about a year ago we did try as there were some discussion and overtures made to me about some shows with Alice Cooper and a couple of Festivals. My idea was to involve all the Members who were in the band (including both Bass Players) as I have no problem whatsoever of jumping back up on stage with any of those guys or variation thereof. It was only one rehearsal, and it sounded great, and we’ll leave it at that.
MSJ: So, what does the future hold for Anthony J. Mifsud?
AJM: Being in more movies, more television shows and creating more music -while continuing to push myself to improve my craft in all of the disciplines and hopefully continue to make a name for myself within the Entertainment Industry, both here in Canada and Internationally!